Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Love and Forgiveness

It is so easy to have a misconception of what love really looks like. We all have different definitions of what love looks like, and they all tend stem from whatever makes us feel good.

But as Christians we have been given a new definition of love!

"This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends." John 15:12-13

We are called to be selfless and giving of ourselves. The world says love is to make you feel good. But we are called to love in way that is willing to sacrifice everything, even our very lives, for the sake of our brothers in Christ.

What would Jesus think of us, when we are not even willing to let go of our pride for the sake of loving our fellow brothers and sisters within the Body? It's is a shame and something we should feel immensely grieved about.

When I have been hurt by someone I am tempted to stop showing love to them. I begin to think "me me me" instead of forgiving that person, thanking God for them and praying for them.

When you cannot forvige others you are blocking off a path on which you also must cross. Everyone needs forgiveness.

"And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses." -Mark 11:25-26

When you are in a room that is dark during the day time, you waist energy trying to turn on all the lights inside. All you must do to make the darkness vanish is open the curtians and let the sun in!

"He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness" -1 John 2:9

God brought into our hearts His love through the Holy Spirit! His love in us is victorious over our unforgiveness.

"'Be angry, and do not sin': do not let the sun go down on your wrath" -Ephesians 4:26

When you are angry you are giving a mighty foothold to the devil. Jesus is able and willing to fill our hearts with His love! When your heart is filled with God's love there is no room for the darkness of resentment and un forgiveness.

The Bible has much to say about loving one another!
• "Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things." -1 Corinthians 13:4-7

• "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!" -Psalm 133:1

• "I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." -Ephesians 4:1-3

• "And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing." -1 Corinthians 13:3

• "But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them." Luke 6:32

• Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. -1 John 4:7

It is such a blessing to be able to bring our anger immediately to the Lord!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Every woman whether rich or poor, married or single, has a circle of influence within which, according to her character, she is exerting a certain amount of power for good or harm. Every woman, by her virtue or her vice, by her folly or her wisdom, by her levity or her dignity, is adding something to our national elevation or degradation. A community is not likely to be overthrown where woman fulfills her mission, for by the power of her noble heart over the hearts of others, she will raise that community from its ruins and restore it again to prosperity and joy."-John Angell James
I hope you all have a blessed Monday!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Verse of the Week

Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Galatians 5:1,13-14

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I read this today, and frankly I was convicted. Thought I would share it here...

"Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good." (Romans 12:9)

In the midst of pressures and influences dictated by popularity and emotions, the Christian identity has been compromised under the flag of cultural assimilation and personal subjectivity.
Religious syncretism is rife. "Toleration" and "love" have been made excuses for defying absolutes and accountability.
Paul here in Romans admonishes believers to love without hypocrisy, a real genuine affection and action of godly sacrifice. But he then further writes to "abhor what is evil" and "cling to what is good." That statement defies most banners we have flown over our lifestyles and decisions as a nation, as individuals, and sadly at times as the church.
Gray has blinded the lines of what is right and wrong too often. We take things from the world and slap a Christian label on it. We rationalize. We justify. We excuse ourselves from truly rejecting darkness, and we have our list of reasons. But can we honestly look God in the eyes and say what we have allowed to be "ok" is acceptable according to Him and His Word?
1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 grows a bit on the same thought in Romans, "Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.""From every form of evil? Test all things? Well if my church is doing it, it must be ok, right?" "Oh come on; it can't be that bad!" We have all heard that little voice trying to sanitize and Christianize what we know is not right.
When it comes to popular media, we desperately need a fresh look at God's Word. If God has so
called us to love Him with all of our mind, we need to know what that looks like. Therefore, we need to know how to discern popular media so that we are not sucked into compromising our Christian identity of solely living for our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.This topic is touchy, I know. But I believe we are only so sensitive because we have compromised the standard we are called to live by in God's Word so much to fit what we want and hunger.
Let's dive into a couple passages of Scripture.1 Peter 1, "Therefore gird up the loins of your
mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ."
Here believers are to hold fast to their calling. They are to gird, prepare or guard, their minds resting fully upon the grace that God has been blessed upon them. Then, Peter continues that we are to do so "as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, 'Be holy, for I am holy.'"
"In all our conduct?" Yes. In all our conduct, we are to be not conforming to our former lusts but be pursuing holiness. Not for us, however. We live holy by and for the only Holy One as we live in Christ Jesus.
Deuteronomy 23 also talks about this, "When the army goes out against your enemies, then keep yourself from every wicked thing...For the Lord your God walks in the midst of your camp, to deliver you and give your enemies over to you; therefore your camp shall be holy, that He may see no unclean thing among you, and turn away from you."
Although God was commanding the Israelites to be clean in a physical aspect, the command can also be seen with a dual instruction of also being spiritually clean as He taught them in previous texts. God's people are to live under the Lordship of God, for is He imminently involved in our lives. Do we as believers view popular media as if He is watching and reading it with us? Would He find it pleasing? Does He find it glorifying Him and having us all the more focus on Him?Philippians 4:8, "Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things." Here Paul lays out the ultimate criteria. Does what we view display all of these traits? What we watch at home and in theaters, what we read printed on pages, will be meditated in our minds. What our we meditating on?
Paul continues in verse 9,"The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you." God shows here an organic relationship between what we think and what we do. What we fill our minds with will inevitably influence how we choose to live. Therefore, what content and images we open into our minds will bear great significance.
For example, although popular opinion says Harry Potter, Twilight, and The Hunger Games are
all great movies to watch, can we honestly admit that these movies line up to the above criteria? I challenge you, as I am challenging myself, to refine what we mean by loving God with all our mind. He views every thought. Would He be pleased and glorified? Or is there something else stealing the attention and adoration He so deserves?In the mentioned movies, there is blatant murder, gore, sorcery, false romance, nudity, sensuality, and the glorification of what is darkness in the eyes of our Lord.
"Oh, but there is a good side and bad side, and the good guys always win!"
Good and evil is defined by who in this work? The secular author with no biblical standards or convictions?
"Oh, but it's real. This really happens in the world around us!" Well, sex slaves, abuse, homosexuality, lewdness, satanic activity and worship with many more forms of evil are real and rampant in our world, so is that an excuse to go view it and fill our minds with it?
"Oh, well I'll just close my eyes on that part." Why would you watch a movie that you have to close your eyes on? You are still going to get a glimpse of that image.
A great analogy I once heard was brownie baking. If the cook decided to cook the brownie with a little feces, would you eat it? You can try to spit out the junk, but guess what, the poop is mixed into all the brownie as these secular authors mix all their junk throughout their stories.Here is another example. A friend of mine went to go watch a Marvel movie with his youth group when it first hit the cinema. The film was based off on one of his favorite old superhero, kid comic strips. The comics were innocent; how bad could the movie be? Plus, if the youth group is going, hey, it
must be ok, right? During the movie, he stood up and walked out. Why? That large screen displayed a naked woman, and as the Word of God commands, that is not an image he is to allow into his mind. What would his wife think if he allowed his eyes to stare at this bare actress? What would our future spouses think of similar images we accept into our minds? Purity of mind is of utmost priority.
Isaiah wisely warns, "Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" (Isaiah 5:20) Whose standards are we living by? Ours? Or Jesus'?1 John 2:6, 28-29, “He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked… And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming. If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him.” Is this us?
After telling the Thessalonians to test all things, abstain from every form of evil, hold to what is good, Paul begins to close off with the following words and so will I as I pray you will open your heart and surrender to God. He will lead you to live as He wishes for you to live, a life that wholly worships Him.
Life is not about us. Life is all about Him. We are to have the mind of Christ. Is that what we are holding to? Are we walking and thinking in the Spirit or in the flesh?Remember, ultimately what we think will lead to what we do. The mind has such an influence into how we live. We need to follow the words of Scripture as it shows that if we are to think biblically we will live biblically. We need to love our God and Savior without hypocrisy. God should get the glory as He so deserves it. Is that our goal in how we live? Is that our goal in how we intake cultural media?"
Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Thessalonians 5:23)

Monday, April 2, 2012

Open our eyes, Lord
We want to see Jesus
To reach out and touch Him
And say that we love Him
Open our ears, Lord
And help us to listen
Open our eyes, Lord
We want to see Jesus

He paid a debt He did not owe
I owed a debt I could not pay
I needed someone to wash my sins away
And now I sing a brand new song
Amazing grace! Amazing grace!
Christ Jesus paid the debt that I could never pay

Open my eyes, Lord
I want to see Jesus
To reach out and touch Him
And say that I love Him
Open my ears, Lord
And help me to listen
Open our eyes, Lord
We want to see Jesus

Christ Jesus paid the debt that I could never pay!

Isaiah 53:4-11
Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth: He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare His generation? for He was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was He stricken. And He made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in His death; because He had done no violence, neither was any deceit in His mouth. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He hath put Him to grief: when You shalt make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand. He shall see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied: by His knowledge shall my Righteous Servant justify many; for He shall bear their iniquities.